Lyric Opera of Chicago & Students of EmpowerYouth! Join Forces For New Opera

By David Salazar

The Lyric Opera of Chicago is going to join forces with Chicago Urban League’s collaborative program, EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity Through Arts, to present “Empower,” an original opera.

The work was developed with local African-American students and will be showcased on May 31, 2018, at the Lyric Opera House.

The work follows a group of students who fight against a reporter obsessed with corruption that has been giving them negative media representation. All 31 students who worked on the opera will appear in the production alongside soprano Angela Brown and Baritone Will Liverman.

The opera was put together alongside composer Damien Sneed, playwright Ike Holter, and director Jess McLeod.

“This has been an exceptional opportunity for creative collaboration between our two organizations to create an unforgettable experience for the participating youth,” said Cayenne Harris, vice president of Lyric Unlimited, the division that worked on this project. “It has been gratifying for all involved to work with this creative group of young people through the immersive EmpowerYouth! program. It is our hope that the many experiences they have undertaken over the past few months, and particularly the opportunity to work side by side with seasoned performing arts professionals, will have a lasting and meaningful impact. We are all so excited to present to Chicago the culmination of their efforts on May 31 at the Lyric Opera House.”